From coach Gad Espinosa

Editor’s note: This article describes Step 5 in Coach Gad’s series for teenage soccer parents about “5 Steps Your Soccer Player Must Take to Be More Confident, Focused, and Resilient”.

Parents, I am excited to be back to continue my series of articles on how to help your athletes get mentally stronger so they can overcome feelings of fear, doubt and frustration when it matters most when the pressure is on!

In my last article, we looked at Step 4, where I set out how important it is for an athlete to devote themselves to brain training. That meant outlining days and times during the week that this, like any other scheduled event on an athlete’s weekly schedule, would happen, along with tips on what to do.

Today we’re looking at Step 5, the secret step that the most successful athletes take and that the vast majority of athletes miss.

Over the past twenty years I have worked with thousands of athletes, from 10 years to others who have succeeded in World Championships and Olympic Games.

What the most successful athletes have in common is not only their full commitment to regular training of their brain, but just as important is the collaboration with a qualified mental trainer who supports them on their way.
They know that this is the secret step to getting them to do their best so that they have the best chance of achieving their goals.

Just like a skills coach, strength and conditioning coach, it is a priority for top athletes to have a mental skills coach!

You see, an athlete can work hard to develop their skills and be physically ready to compete, but without proper thought patterns it becomes difficult for athletes to figure out how to respond appropriately to difficult situations. You will find it difficult to consistently do your best and reach your full potential.

The truth, however, is that brain training for an athlete is a little ambiguous, intangible and frankly boring if you don’t know what and how to do it. As with any other skill, the best way to develop it is to find someone with a proven plan that will produce results.

Now you might be thinking … is my child too small for that? How do I find a qualified person? Not sure if it is in budget to achieve this? These are perfectly legitimate questions so let’s address each one.

Is my child too young for that? As mentioned earlier, I’ve worked with athletes as young as 10 with great results. The younger the better because there are fewer limiting beliefs that need to be addressed and fewer that need to be eliminated before success-thinking patterns can take hold. This is a life skill that your child can practice every day. So get it to work on it sooner rather than later!

How do I find a qualified person? My suggestion would be to do some homework. Look online and see if you can get referrals.

Not sure if it is in budget to achieve this? I know this wasn’t an option for me growing up, so one of my goals early in my coaching career was to make brain training accessible to the masses. There is no reason why such an important development tool should only be available to senior top athletes!

With that in mind, I’ve put together an accessible online mental strength training program that will enable me to become your athlete’s mental skills coach. To learn more about my program, click here!

The greatest game your child will play is the one that goes on in their head. A lack of plan when faced with adversity leads to hesitation and undermines trust. It freezes an athlete.

Top athletes are shaped in pressure situations when they have the right tools – the right mental play tools!

I hope that training mental strength with a mental skills trainer becomes an important part of your athlete’s routine.

PS – If you would like to find out more about my Mental Tough Athlete program – click here!

PPS – If you want a copy of my free guide – 4 Important Changes Your Soccer Player Must Make ASAP! (To gain self-confidence, concentration and resilience) – click here!